What does it really take for me to be a confident leader? Is there a quick formula, a tried-and-true method, a step-by-step instruction manual that can help me?
These are questions that I’ve asked myself, and I believe that many of you may be asking yourself as well.
Here’s the deal...leadership can be scary. It can be downright overwhelming if we’re being totally honest. And staying confident as we make a commitment before God to lead and guide and even nurture people as we walk along a path together, dang, it’s a big deal! When Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites, he was never completely confident in his ability to speak (Exodus 5:10). And in a conversation with the Lord, Jeremiah told God that he was too young to do what God called him to do (Jeremiah 1:6-8).
Throughout the bible we see accounts of people who were not completely confident in God’s call on their lives. Yet, and I repeat, yet... they led and guided groups that ranged from only a few people to groups in the thousands and even millions. And somehow they learned to manage their doubts and lead in the midst of uncertainty. How did they do it?!
In November of 2014, I hopped on a plane to Las Vegas to attend my 4th annual Leading and Loving It Retreat. I want you to know that I almost didn’t get on the plane that day because of some incredibly stressful circumstances. Six months prior, our church purchased and moved into a new building in a different state, and I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the transition. During the same time, our congregation doubled in size, and I was stretched in leadership and time management, and my confidence was beginning to challenged on every level.
Yet at the encouragement of my husband, I agreed to go to retreat. At retreat, in a moment where I became vulnerable and open to the voice of God, I became honest with myself and acknowledged the doubt I had in my leadership abilities and my fear of fully grasping the call on my life.
In this significant moment, I began to recognize that my confidence would be boosted from a shift in my thinking. And if God believed in me, believed in my potential and put me in this position, then I had to believe it too.
Maybe you have been in the same place, or maybe you’re there right now and are feeling discouraged and alone as you lead.
Well, I want to take a moment and boost your confidence! Let me start by reminding you that leading is a journey and not a final destination, and every leader is in continual transition. So anything we can do to help each other along the way will help us become stronger as we lead.
Here are some tips to help you stay confident as you lead.
Confidence Tip #1: Give yourself grace to make mistakes.
We are not striving to be perfect. We are striving to be better leaders. Making a mistake here and there can actually help you as you develop in your leadership. Forgetting to call someone; speaking unkindly; over-scheduling meetings... A mistake doesn’t mean you are less of a leader. It means that you are a human leader. What’s most important is getting past and learning from the mistake and starting again. Don’t allow a mess-up make you feel like a screw-up! Remember that with any mistake, God gives his grace willingly and freely to you. It’s important that you do the same to yourself. Being a confident leader doesn’t mean you’re a perfect leader. We are all imperfect leaders leading imperfect people under the authority and grace of a perfect God.
Confidence Tip #2: Your “voice” is the right voice for you.
What is the thing that you’re most passionate about and the thing that drives you as a leader? What is your “voice”? Your “voice”, by my definition, are the giftings, passions and desires that are unique and given by God to you to use for his purpose and glory. And while your “voice” may sound much different than someone else’s, that’s perfectly okay! Some of you may preach; some may lead the children’s ministry; others are involved in missions; while still others are on the worship team. We devalue ourselves when we try to be like someone else instead of who God has prepared and positioned us to be. It always leads to frustration and lack of confidence in ourselves. God didn’t intend for you, nor does he want you, to be like anyone else. Be confident in YOU because you are enough. You really are...
Confidence Tip #3: Be ready for critics but not afraid of being criticized.
So here’s the deal...we cannot avoid criticism. If you lead, you’re immediately in the forefront and visibly seen. But do not be afraid! Sound familiar?! This is the same statement God spoke to Joshua right before he entered the promised land (Joshua 1). Why? Because God knew that Joshua would come up against people and difficult circumstances and would be openly criticized and condemned. So God wanted to assure Joshua that he would strengthen and be with him every step of the way. And God wants you to know the same. People can criticize you, but they do not have the power to defeat you unless you allow it. Remember that with God’s help, you are able to stay strong, and with the strength of Christ you can do all things. And through God’s word you have the firm foundation necessary to withstand anything that comes your way!
This resource written by Linda Seidler for Leading and Loving It